Emotional stability, optimism, control, conscientiousness and determination are all vital to people’s success in life.
Both young and old alike benefit from these life skills.
They are linked to lower depression, greater financial stability, better health and lower social isolation.
Professor Andrew Steptoe, who co-led the research, said:
“No single attribute was more important than others.
Rather, the effects depended on the accumulation of life skills.”
The conclusions come from a study of more than 8,000 people over 52-years-old.
People with the lowest levels of these five life skills had depression rates of 23%.
Among those with the highest levels of these life skills, the rate dropped to just 3%.
Professor Steptoe said:
“There is research on individual factors such as conscientiousness and optimism in adults, but the combinations of these life skills has not be studied very much before.
We were surprised by the range of processes – economic, social, psychological, biological, and health and disability related – that seem to be related to these life skills.
Our research suggests that fostering and maintaining these skills in adult life may be relevant to health and wellbeing at older ages.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal PNAS (Steptoe & Wardle, 2017).